Regular inspections for ethanol tanks are quite similar to a simple dental visit, when your dentist checks for any issues and solve them before they even take place. Like a routine dental checkup does, regular inspections allow companies to identify potential causes of problems such as leaks and, consequentially, avoid costly cleanups and repairs.
When it comes to tank inspection and maintenance, however, certain standards are important to ensure safety and prevent any untoward incidents.
The American Petroleum Institute’s API 653 inspection guidelines serve as a good basis for this. These guidelines, as mentioned on heartlandtankservices.com, help tanks meet state requirements and ensure longevity.
For ethanol storage, the API provided different rules for aboveground storage tanks such as the API 653 tank modification standards. These standards refer to the correct way of fixing structural issues either for safety or performance. In terms of inspection, it comprises the monthly visual, in-service, and out-of-service assessment.
Companies may instruct unlicensed inspectors to conduct the monthly visual inspection, while the remaining two requirements need the services of licensed personnel. As such, a certified API 653 inspector should check a storage tank every five years at the least.
For the out-of-service requirement, tank owners should base the inspection intervals on risk perception or corrosion rate procedures.
The continuous observance of API standards will be more relevant in the future, as the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted that ethanol production would reach an average of 1.02 million barrels per day for 2017.
By next year, production will slight drop to 1.01 million barrels per day. The EIA, however, expects the forecast for 2017 to be a new annual record for production if it does take place.
U.S. equipment standards provide the energy industry with certain guidelines on how to maintain storage tanks, as these are important for the safety of employees and ensure the normal flow of business.